Read on to hear from members of the LGBTQIA+ society committee about why they got involved in the society, why representation matters and why we celebrate LGBT+ History Month!
Why did you want to take part in leading LGBTQIA+ Society this year?
Alex: For me the LGBTQIA+ Society is a safe and accepting place for all the LGBTQIA+ community. It is a space which helped me to discover myself and my gender in a safe space. I became part of the society’s committee last academic year because I wanted to make sure the society remained a safe community space for all. I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, however small it may be for some I have met others that the society has played such a huge part in their lives and their ability to be their true and authentic self. Helping to lead the LGBTQIA+ Society at Coventry University is something I am so glad to be doing and has been so rewarding, I cannot wait to see what else the society does.
Kim: I wanted to take part in leading the LGBTQIA+ Society this year because I really enjoyed the events as a member in my first year and felt welcomed by the committee and community. The role of Inclusions Officer in particular spoke to me because I want people to feel able to be who they are and express themselves comfortably, as well as making events accessible and inclusive of all interests.
What are your favourite events you’ve run so far?
Kim: Last semester my personal highlights included all the collaborations we got to do with other societies such as Crafting, Tabletop and Supporting Women in STEM. They ranged from murder mystery nights to paper plane races and were great for spreading awareness of the society to other student communities! Also, this semester one of our taster sessions was DIY stim toy making, which was a messy but fun activity to all do together!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Alex: I enjoy being part of making a safe and accepting space for the community. It is such an important space for me and it makes me so happy to be able to be that safe space for other people.
Kim: The thing I enjoy the most about my role is working with the amazing group of members we have, to give feedback and input on LGBT+ representation at the university; reaffirming that this is an open space for students to enjoy and contribute to.
What is the significance of LGBTQIA+ History month to you?
Alex: LGBTQIA+ History Month is so important to the LGBTQIA+, it shows how far the community has come. However, for me, the month is also a time to reflect on how far the community still has to go in terms of rights and acceptance. Especially in current times when LGBTQIA+ rights, especially trans rights, are being attacked. I find it also a good time to remember all the positive achievements that the community has accomplished and not just focus on the negativity there is at the moment about the community.
Kim: I see LGBTQIA+ History Month as an opportunity to learn about, understand and act on the challenges the community is still facing today. Current and future generations should be aware of this to not only bring the message forward, but to celebrate what’s been achieved so far. Educating the community and its allies throughout History Month is a great opportunity for more growth and change.
Who are your LGBTQIA+ icons/ role models and why?
Kim: There have been so many great LGBTQIA+ influences in my life, but I’d say the most significant are Freddie Mercury, for being so bold and expressive in his life and music, as well as leaving a legacy of hope. Also, Sir Ian McKellen, as an inspiring actor on film and dedicated campaigner for LGBTQIA+ causes.
Why is representation important to you?
Alex: Representation of LGBTQIA+ people is so important for the community. Having positive LGBTQIA+ representation can make a huge difference to people. I know for me seeing LGBTQIA+ representation in TV and movies makes me feel happy, showing people that queer people exist and they’re out there. Positive representation also helps to educate people about the community and helps to correct stereotypes and misconceptions that the media have spread.
Kim: Representation of the whole community is vitally important because, for example, it can provide LGBTQIA+ young people with role models and a feeling of visibility and acceptance. Additionally, representation of minority groups such as trans, non-binary and A-spec people can create healthy discussion and opportunities for understanding.
If you would like to be apart of a safe space and get to know know link minded students, join the LGBTQIA+ Society!